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Story Highlights

  • Governments across the globe have pledged to intensify their own domestic preparations for a new international agreement to be adopted in 2015.
  • The parties agreed to either initiate or to intensify their own domestic preparations for the national contribution they will make to this new agreement.
  • Significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions are required in order to keep temperature increases below two degrees.

Governments across the globe have pledged to intensify their own domestic preparations for a new international agreement to be adopted in 2015 for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

This was disclosed by Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, while reporting on some of the outcomes of the 19th Conference of Parties (COP 19) to the Climate Change Conference, at a press conference held on January 29 at the Alhambra Inn in St. Andrew. COP 19 was held from November 11 to 22, 2013 in Warsaw, Poland.

“That agreement will have a legal form and will be applicable to all. It is expected to enter into force in 2020,” the Minister informed.

He said that the parties agreed to either initiate or to intensify their own domestic preparations for the national contribution they will make to this new agreement, which is expected to have legally binding greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for both developed and developing countries.

According to Minister Pickersgill, the historical and major emitters are expected to lead by committing to larger cuts in their emissions.

“Low emitters such as Jamaica and other Small Island Developing States (SIDS), as well as Least Developed Countries, should be given special considerations. Parties also agreed to submit by the first quarter of 2015, clear and transparent plans for reducing their emissions,” he informed.

Scientific findings from the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, indicates that significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions are required in order to keep temperature increases below two degrees during the second half of this century.

Another noteworthy outcome of the conference, Minister Pickersgill said was a commitment by developed countries to fulfill pledges of US$100 billion per year from 2013 to 2020 for climate financing.

“Important decisions were made for the Board of the Green Climate Fund to start the process to mobilize resources, and for contributions to come in from the developed countries by December 2014. Developed countries are required to prepare biennial submissions on their strategies and approaches for the scaling up of finances between 2014 and 2020,” he said.

Mr. Pickersgill noted that several developed countries made announcements of forthcoming concrete contributions to public climate financing including Norway, the United Kingdom, United States of America, Japan, and Germany.

He also informed that US$100 million was pledged by Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland to the Adaptation Fund to finance some eight projects.

As it relates to SIDS, such as Jamaica, Minister Pickersgill said the decision was taken for the establishment of a mechanism to address issues relating to loss and damage.  A group of experts is to be established to start work on a two-year programme to develop the structures, modalities and procedures for financing.

“This will be reviewed after three years with a view to remove the mechanism from the Cancun Adaptation Framework that limits how much finance can become available for the amounts already pledged for adaptation,” Minister Pickersgill said.

He noted that the move brings to some form of conclusion, efforts that started some 20 years ago by the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), for an insurance scheme to protect the most vulnerable nations.

Mr. Pickersgill pointed out that measures to address deforestation and forest degradation, and the transfer of clean technologies, were some of the other meaningful decisions that came out of the COP 19 meeting.